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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Vitamin & Mineral Supplement Guide Vitamin & Mineral Guide


Natural Vitamins or Synthetic?

People often ask if natural vitamins work better than synthetic ingredients. The answer is yes and no.

Synthetic vitamins are produced in laboratories. Natural vitamins are derived from food sources. Under controlled conditions synthetic vitamins work just like the natural ingredients, but we don't live in a perfect world.

For example, studies have shown that synthetic vitamin E will actually block natural vitamin E activity at the cellular level. Some synthetic B group vitamins, such as beta carotene, are adversely affected by synthetic food dyes. These dyes are a common ingredient in 'one-a day' vitamin preparations. Yellow dye also decreases vitamin B-6 activity.

Vitamins derived from natural sources contain nutrients that are not available from synthetics. Dunaliella salina algae is not only an effective form of the B vitamin, beta carotene, but also includes the cancer fighters alpha carotene, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, lutein and lycopene.

Synthetic vitamins replicate only one of perhaps dozens of beneficial nutrients. It's somewhat like imitating one ingredient that is contained in an apple. You miss all of the related nutrients that work synergistically. Some vitamins only work well as part of a team — leave out any of the players and the whole group becomes ineffective. Our bodies need a broad base of natural supplements for optimum health.

Most manufacturers look for the cheapest way to produce their products. Synthetics and chemicals are less expensive, are much easier to process and have a longer shelf life than natural vitamins.

Are vitamin supplements really necessary?
You've probably heard the comment, maybe even from your doctor, “Vitamins will just give you expensive urine." The latest scientific research proves otherwise. Natural vitamin formulas, herbs and other natural remedies can cure you as well as or better than many prescription drugs...without the negative side effects.

"We now have a substantial body of data showing that if everyone took a few supplements every day, they could significantly lower their risk of a multitude of serious diseases," said David Heber, M.D., Ph.D., of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"I get what I need from food."
We have been told for years that we can get all the vitamins and minerals we need if we eat a balanced diet. Not by a long shot.

More than 90% of adults don't eat the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables. And even if we try our best to eat more vegetables, the ones we purchase at the grocery don't have the vitamins and minerals that they had 40 or 50 years ago. In U. S. Department of Agriculture studies of 50,000 persons performed in the 1980's, not one person was getting the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of the 10 essential vitamins. And in many cases the RDA is insufficient for optimum health.

How do I know what vitamins to take?
Good question. How can we be sure we are making the right choices when choosing nutrition supplements. Advertisers spend millions trying to convince us that their vitamins are the best on the market. What can we believe and to whom can we go to for advice? Can we go to our doctor? Most medical schools provide less than 3 hours education in nutrition.

Let the buyer beware
You need a magnifying glass to read the ingredients on the label. In choosing nutritional supplements it is truly e caveat emptor—and let the buyer beware. There is no regulation in the vitamin industry and there are legions of unscrupulous vendors try to get your hard earned money.

Some vitamins are hazardous to your health
Most people are not aware that many vitamins, including some of the highly advertised name brands, are processed at high temperatures, contain petroleum derived chemical solvents, such as ethyl cellulose and are coated with methylene chloride, a carcinogenic material. According to Dr. Zoltan P. Rona, M.D., “Although most healthy people will have no obvious side effects from ingesting small amounts of toxins found in cheap vitamins, the long term consequences of continuous, daily intakes are potentially dangerous. Over 7% of the population displays sensitivity to these chemicals.” Dr. Rona says that allergic reactions include fatigue, memory loss, depression and insomnia.

A One A Day vitamin doesn't cut it
Research has been done on some of the national brand vitamins including Centrum and Centrum Silver. To put it plainly their formulas are cheap. Not just inexpensive...but cheap. They have sub-optimal levels of antioxidants, which are so important for fighting free radicals and building up your immune system to fight off heart disease and cancer. But the problem isn’t just the important missing ingredients. It is the chemicals that shouldn't be there. Take Centrum Silver as an example. Centrum’s ingredients are all synthetic and include seven different chemicals, solvents or dyes.

What should I look for for?
Number one is to choose a manufacturer you can trust. Many companies are more interested in shelf life than human life. Stick with the natural supplements and avoid the chemicals. A complete all natural formula which includes all the antioxidants you need for heart health, and no harmful chemicals, will run you about $1.30 to 1.50 per day depending on the ingredients. That's about the price of a cup of coffee.


Editors Note: It should also be noted that many of the "natural" vitamins are also produced under less than optimal conditions. The potency, dosage - and sometimes even the ingredients - are often difficult to determine from the label. Natural does not always mean a seal of approval. Pick a brand that you can trust and stick with it. The benefits will be well worth the costs in the long run!

 

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This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.

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